Find the Best Prenatal Vitamin for You and Your Baby

A young woman is holding a glass of water and taking a prenatal vitamin.

Proper nutrition is important if you’re pregnant or planning to get pregnant soon. Along with eating a balanced diet, taking a daily prenatal vitamin as you prepare for a new arrival is one of the best ways to help ensure your baby grows healthy and strong. But is there one best prenatal vitamin?

Why You Need Prenatal Vitamins

If you eat a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, your body gets most of the nutrients you need from food. But when you’re pregnant, you’re eating for two. It can be hard to get all the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need from your diet alone. That’s why medical experts recommend that pregnant women take a daily prenatal vitamin. These special vitamins have higher amounts of the nutrients you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy.

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The Vitamins and Minerals You Need

When choosing a prenatal supplement, reading the label is essential. Not all vitamins have the recommended amounts of nutrients to support your growing baby. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that your daily supplement contain the following amounts of each:

  • calcium:1,000 milligrams/mg
  • choline: 450 mg
  • folic acid: 600 micrograms/mcg
  • iron: 27 mg
  • iodine: 220 mcg
  • vitamin A: 770 mcg
  • vitamin B6: 1.9 mg
  • vitamin B12: 2.6 mcg
  • vitamin C: 85 mg
  • vitamin D: 600 international units/iu

You also need omega-3 fatty acids in your supplement. You should keep taking prenatal vitamins throughout your pregnancy. Your provider may also recommend that you continue taking them after birth for as long as you breastfeed your child.

Some women may find vitamins increase nausea or morning sickness, often due to higher levels of iron. However, getting enough iron is important for your baby to grow blood cells. If your morning sickness worsens when you take vitamins, your OB-GYN can recommend options to help, such as medications for nausea or different types of vitamins. You should not stop taking prenatal supplements unless your doctor tells you to.

Talk to Your Provider About the Best Prenatal Vitamins

Not all prenatal vitamins and supplements are the same. Unlike medications, vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means there’s no government verification that what’s on the label is in the bottle. However, there are third-party organizations that test supplements on their own. Ask your CHRISTUS Health OB-GYN which “verified” or “certified” seals are the most trustworthy. Your provider may also recommend prescription prenatal vitamins. 

If you have questions about the best prenatal vitamins or anything else during your pregnancy, CHRISTUS Health is here to help. Find an OB-GYN.

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